After forty years of working in the industry, most of the FBO and General Aviation business owners we’ve had the pleasure to work with are multi-talented, customer-oriented, and highly professional business people who have distinct, well-defined skill sets. Most are adept at wearing several different hats and they display a variety of business, personal, and entrepreneurial skills that most other business owners envy.

Both Carl and I love the FBO and General Aviation business and have a great deal of respect for those business owners who work within it!

Some know how to manage complicated and competitive margins on aviation fuel, aircraft parts, and other services, and they are highly skilled at growing and developing their personnel to provide exceptional service. Others have achieved success at marketing and selling expensive aircraft in a challenging marketplace, and some have focused their careers on learning how to negotiate complicated aircraft sales and leaseback agreements. Many are highly skilled, certified professionals who have spent the last decade or two (or three or four) honing their craft of fixing complicated mechanical or electronic problems with aircraft and avionics, while others are professional pilots who’ve become adept at dealing with the challenges and regulations involved with operating a fleet of flight school or charter aircraft.
And, in rare cases, a few owners with whom we’ve crossed paths have even mastered the techniques and political acumen required to deal with their Airport Authorities on issues involving long term airport leases and operating rights.
But, when it comes to selling their aviation business (which inevitably involves the process of marketing to, screening, and negotiating with potential buyers), many of these business owners express a high degree of anxiety and uncertainty about how to make the decision to sell. Invariably there are questions about the value of their business, and in many cases they don’t know how or when to begin what we refer to as: the “Selling Process.”

Here are a few common obstacles which affect these FBO and aviation business owners:

Information Organization:

When it comes to the process of organizing, developing, producing, and managing the information that is required to successfully market the sale of their business, many aviation business owners are lost. The important skills they’ve developed over the years which they demonstrate in their daily routine as aviation professionals are often of little value when it comes to selling their FBO or aviation business.

Time Constraints:

Many times, either by necessity or because of their particular area of expertise, these aviation business owners opt to become a significant “hands-on” element within the day-to-day operations of their business. They are often the leader, guiding force and soul of the company. Because of this hands-on approach, often there is neither the time, nor the patience to accomplish what needs to be done to achieve a successful sale of their aviation business, in the way that it needs to be done, and in the time that it needs to be done.

Family Issues:

The sale of their FBO or General Aviation business is an intensely personal matter for the owner and family members who may also be involved in the business’ day-to-day operations. In these cases this situation can serve to complicate the decision to sell, especially if an owner’s death, divorce, or health issues are involved.

The Path of Least Resistance

These common scenarios with FBO/General Aviation business owners can create an extremely challenging dilemma in which many ultimately choose to take the Path of Least Resistance in attempting to sell their business. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, executing a method that would give them the greatest chance to produce the highest financial return, or that could increase the effectiveness of their time exponentially; they opt not to do the preliminary work that is required to Communicate the Substance and Value of their business to prospective buyers.
In most cases, aviation business owners won’t take the steps necessary to evaluate their situation, organize critical information and materials, research the best ways to market their business, or identify the most important and marketable aspects of their business so it can be presented in the most professional way possible to prospective buyers.
And, in rare cases, a few owners with whom we’ve crossed paths have even mastered the techniques and political acumen required to deal with their Airport Authorities on issues involving long term airport leases and operating rights.
Then, by ignoring a few simple issues related to the Timing of their sale and their prospect base, they inadvertently limit their pool of prospective, interested, and/or qualified buyers because they’ve imposed limitations on the Selling Process, right from the beginning.
Consequently, these unconscious actions may also serve to limit their potential to sell at the highest price because they chose to present a haphazard, disjointed, and incomplete package of information to a pool of prospects that were already narrowed in the first place. Hence, they lose control of the sale process altogether.

It’s Time to Act!

So, if you’re contemplating the sale of your FBO or Aviation business, and any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, It’s Time to Act!
Give us a call or email today to see how we can assess your situation and get your business ready for market.
Michael Dye – (303) 338-2010 –
Carl Muhs – (989) 233-7647 –

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